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Mt. San Jacinto Hiking Club Message Board › Death Valley geo-hikes reminder 11/29-12/2

Death Valley geo-hikes reminder 11/29-12/2

Thom D.
user 155067992
Ventura, CA
Death Valley Geo-hikes participants,

Please read all of this carefully including the links. Obtain a road map of the Death Valley and look at where we are going, you’ll have a better experience if you research before going.

While in the Death Valley area top off your gas tank at opportunities. Distances are great and gas stations are few. There are stations at Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells. I expect your vehicles to have enough gas to reach meetup points and return to Furnace Creek before the events start each morning. Fill-up the night before and sometimes there are gas lines, so plan ahead.

When you show up at Furnace Creek Campground please go to group site #1 that I have reserved from 11/29 to 12/2. The group site #1 reservation was made under my name.

I plan to show up there in the early afternoon of 11/29 (Thursday).

There are ~25 participants from three hiking clubs (numbers always change as we near event): Geo-hikes, Valencia Hiking Crew (VHC) and San Jacinto Hiking Club (SJHC). Plus there are 9 field trip co-leaders. Several are geologists that can answer geologic questions. Please introduce yourself and mix as there will be lots of new faces.

On Friday and Saturday evening, I plan on giving a short orientation with slides at group site #2. Probably about 8:00 PM.

When you arrive at the campground please try to find me to check in.

Please bring firewood, and folding chairs and small tables are always helpful.

This is classic tent/car camping. You are on your own as far as cooking and cooking groups. You are responsible for bringing, preparing, and clean-up of your meals and drink for the entire trip.

Furnace Creek is at a low elevation but can still get cold, so bring a good sleeping bag and cold weather clothes (more on this under Telescope Peak hike). Forecast weather for Furnace Creek doesn’t look too extreme for 11/29-12/2:­


IMPORTANT: The meetup point for the daily hike is not the campground (I have found we stay on time better if we don't start event in the campground). Rather it's a designated meeting point, and please be on time. I will hand out maps to the meetup points to all the drivers the night before the hikes. Drivers make sure you ask for a map.

Please try to car pool as much as possible. The park rangers do like us to overwhelm a parking area and I could get cited. I do not arrange car pools, as with all my geology trips this is your responsibility. If you need a car pool situation start posting on comments page. The Titus Canyon road should have high clearance vehicles, any vehicle can reach the Corkscrew Peak trailhead that’s along a paved road, and the road to the Charcoal Kilns is described below.

8:00 AM Friday (11/30): Drive Titus Canyon Road with several geology stops, plus hike to top of Thimble Peak (~5 miles RT, ~1800 ft up). Titus Canyon meetup point is the intersection of Hwy 374 (road to Beatty) and the Titus Canyon Road at 8:00 AM. Vehicles doing the Titus Canyon Road should have good tires and high clearance, 4WD is not required. If you plan on carpooling with others then leave your car at the Furnace Creek campground and not at the meetup point as we are not returning to the meetup point. Titus Canyon is a one way dirt/gravel road.

Thimble Peak is a moderate hike that requires some scrambling near the top. Some folks do not like its airy exposure and some folks love it. The route will be the same going in and going out. More info on the hike: https://www.tripadvis...­

8:00 AM Saturday (12/1): Hike to top of Corkscrew Peak, Grapevine Mountains (~8 miles RT, ~3300 ft up). Corkscrew Peak meetup point is along the paved Daylight Pass Road a few miles beyond the intersection of the Beatty Cutoff Road and Mud Canyon Road, and any car can reach meetup point. There are several pull out spaces to park near the Corkscrew Peak trailhead. Make sure you park off the pavement. Corkscrew Peak can be a challenging hike for many and I’ve had about 10-20% not finish in the past. The route will be the same going in and going out. Please do not do this hike if you are not in good hiking shape.

9:00 AM Sunday: https://www.summitpos...­

9:00 AM Sunday (12/2): Hike to top of Wildrose or Telescope Peaks. Meetup point for both hikes is the Charcoal Kilns. It takes 1.5 hrs+ to drive from Furnace Creek campground to the Charcoal Kilns so plan accordingly. I do not plan to return to Furnace Creek so I pack up my camp and leave by 7:30 AM. The road to the Charcoal Kilns is paved for the first 5 miles and then a pretty good gravel/dirt road for the next 2 miles. Park Service recommends high clearance for road but I’ve seen many standard clearance vehicles at Kilns.

Wildrose Peak trailhead is directly behind Charcoal Kilns. The peak is 8.4 miles RT, 2,200 ft up. It’s easier than Telescope Peak but still a challenge. If the weather is poor this might be the hike for all of us: https://www.hikespeak...­

Telescope Peak is 13-14 miles RT and ~3,300 ft up from Mahogany Flat Campground and road is very rough from the Charcoal Kilns to the campground. The road can be icy and it’s narrow. Needless to say, vehicles going to Mahogany Flat should have 4WD, good tires, high clearance and a driver comfortable with a challenging road. Plus the parking at the Flat is limited.

Given the weather, the time of year, and the difficulty of the Mahogany Flat Road, we will start hike to Telescope Peak from the Charcoal Kilns or Thorndike campground, and this will add another 3 miles RT and an additional 1,000 ft of elevation. So total will be 16-17 miles ~4300 ft up.

Please do not attempt this hike if you are not in excellent hiking condition. The high temperature at and near the top is around freezing and the winds for 12/2 are strong (+20 mph). You’ll need very warm clothes, gloves, beany, microspikes, etc. The last portion of the hike is steep and probably snow covered and icy, you’ll need microspikes. It’s common for folks to have their water bottles and pack bladders freeze on this hike.


Here’s latest on weather at Telescope Peak, note the 20-25 mph winds and chill factor: https://www.mountain-...­

Thom Davis
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